Innovation Exchange challenge: scaling up Direct Air Capture

Carbonbit seeks to identify process, mechanical and electrical engineering modifications to scale-up a small-scale DAC system to industrial scale.

Opportunity Details


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Up to £25,000 for successful solution provider, plus support for development, potential collaboration, and more.


Innovate UK Business Connect

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Carbonbit is launching an innovation challenge seeking solutions that can help in identifying the crucial process, mechanical and electrical engineering modifications necessary to scale-up a small-scale DAC system to industrial-scale plant. The solutions should comprehensively outline and detail these changes, enabling potential costing for the development of the industrial plant, as well as detailing the clear uses of AI and robotics in enhancing the overall solution.

Carbonbit has developed an MVP DAC system capable of removing 100kg CO2 per annum. The company now wishes to scale up to industrial scale, removing 20,000 / 100,000 / 500,000 tonnes CO2 per annum. and needs to understand the key process / mechanical / electrical engineering changes required to achieve this. It is considered that AI and robotics will play a part in both the scale up and the operation of the industrial plant and its overall circularity as well as in the service and performance monitoring. Therefore, the company also wished to understand to what extent this might be, and the resources required to realise this.

Successfully overcoming this challenge will enable Carbonbit to present a detailed, viable solution to investors, covering the transition from MVP to industrial scale and facilitating accurate cost estimation for plant development.

A critical aspect of scaling is maintaining an efficient balance between CO2 capture and energy consumption, particularly in energy-intensive processes like the vacuum pump system but also in terms of ease of operation and maintenance and circularity. Carbonbit seeks to optimise this balance to minimise operational costs.

The solution provider should also consider developing a maintenance scheduling methodology for DAC components, potentially using AI for condition- or risk-based maintenance, which could serve as a model across the industry.

Who can apply?

Entrants to this competition must be small-medium sized enterprises (SME), UK based and registered, and must not have exceeded their Minimum Financial Assistance limit (or De Minimis, where relevant).


For this challenge, the selected applicant will have the opportunity to collaborate directly with the challenge holder, implementing their innovative solution. Additionally, they will gain access to grant funding of up to £25,000 to support their project. This also presents an opportunity for sector leadership in utilising AI and robotics in DAC technology, potentially creating a standard across the industry.

Key dates

Application deadline: 8 May 2024
Selection and notification of finalists: 09-21 May 2024
Finalists will be asked to present at a Pitch Day on 22, 23 or 24 May 2024 (tbc)
Project start: 1 October 2024, lasting for 12 weeks (3 months)


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